Mushroom steek repaired

The end result:

the two vertical needles indicate the part I frogged and rebuilt. Everything between those needles has been frogged, down to the acorn marker that marks the centre of the steek.

This is where I started:

The steek is positioned 10 stitched too much on the right. And I forgot to do the decreases in the first couple of rows above the marker.

Here’s everything frogged and the marker positioned at the stitch that has to be the new middle of the steek. Steek will be 8 st wide total, 4 st to each side of the marker. Decreases will be 2 stitches away from the steek.

Having determined what goes where I now have to sort out which yarn goes in which row and in what colour sequence. That spaghetti is daunting…

Figuring out which two colours belonged to which row was best done from the Wrong Side of the work. For the first six rows I parked them and marked them. The red pin on the bottom left holds the two yarn for the first row. One yarn I found at the edge of the frogged work, the other I found by “walking” along that row until I found a dangling colour:

I then took the first two colours, tried to read the colour pattern of the existing row, and knitted the live stitches in that pattern, except the stitch with the marker on on top of which I cast on 8 stitches.

Having knit from right to left I met the existing knitting on the left and found out I had knitted way and way tighter than the existing gauge. There was still length  of yarns left but no more stitches needed:

I don’t know what went wrong. Gauge for sure, I’m nervous doing this and yanking the yarn. I also do not remember whit what colours I casted on those extra 8 stitches the first time around. I probably used more green then yellow then, seeing as I now have more green than yellow left.

I undid the row and knitted it again, trying to have a looser gauge and trying to use equal amounts of colour for the 8 cast on stitches. It didn’t work. I tried again. I tried loosening every stitch after I knit the whole row, to make the yarn more equally distributed. Didn’t work.

Then I gave up. Then I decided to knit the right half of the row from the right side and the left half from the left side. The extra yarn would end up in the middle (of the steek) and that would be alright because eventually this is where the steek will be cut so these extra ends won’t matter. I am at peace with my gauge for now being tighter than the rest of the vest. It’s only a detail.

Here’s how that first row looks after this approach (not all steek stitches have been cast on yet):

That’s ok. That’ll do.

So that’s how I worked it. Pick the two yarns appropriate for the row. Figure out the stitch pattern for that row. Work one half from the left. Work the other half from the right. Remember to do a decrease every third row. Leave extra length in the middle of the steek and be cool with that.

Here I am half way. Not trying to panic over looks and the yarn spaghetti:

Still so much yarn spaghetti!

Don’t panic. Just keep working, one row at the time.

Eventually I reached the top. The spaghetti sorted itself out, two strands at a time. The middle looks weird and messy but it is correct technically. If I pull on the loose parts the neighbouring stitches will tighten and it will look better.

The sides of the steek look good too. Patterns continue. There are decreases. I think I’m alright.

It took 5 hours, over the course of a couple of days.

Preparing to show off chopped mushrooms.

Tomorrow is the knitters’ festival in one of the tiniest an oldest cities in the country: Nieuwpoort. (yes, it means “new port” and it was a new port on the river Lek (“which means “leak” (we have no fantasy when it comes to naming places))).

The festival is organized by The Schapekop, the LYS where I did the workshop dyeing with mushrooms back in February:

I was so going to knit a stranded vest with the yarn and bring it to the festival tomorrow and be all glorious and marvelous!

But of course I spend weeks fiddling with the chart and never getting it exactly right so there’s no vest to show. I do have one wristwarmer though:

The colours are beautiful and exactly as I want them for a cool, February-kind of vest I have in mind. It’s a good swatch telling me about gauge, colours and contrast. Especially that last one needs a lot more chart fiddling in StitchFiddle.com!

The past two weeks I felt bad about bragging about a vest to the people who organized the workshop and then knowing I’ll show up tomorrow with nothing or just that one meager wristwarmer… Yes I felt so bad that I contemplated not going at all and spare myself the embarrassment. Which is ridiculous!

In fact, so ridiculous that I snapped right out of it and casted on for a stranded vest in totally different colours last Tuesday. Look at these colours!

So happy 🙂 So sunny 🙂

They are all dyed with mushrooms, apart from the blue which is a commercial colour and the white.

This vest and these colours I don’t need to get precisely right. It’s just bands and bands of motives, some borrowed and some made up as I go along. There’s a little bit of teeth gnashing when I get my contrasts imperfect but I give myself a pass for that. Overall I’m just knitting happy colours, straight under the radar of my perfectionism, and I’m just making metres and I already have something nice to show tomorrow.

Just now I had to stop knitting for a bit and learn about shaping and steeks. It seems you cannot just knit a tube and then cut holes in it for arms and head. Or can you?
I don’t know, I’ve never done a stranded, shaped garment nor have I ever intentionally steeked.

For this vest I did a provisional cast on (to bypass the ribbing at the bottom because I didn’t have much time to get to the good part and I don’t know yet which colours I’ll have left for the borders). Then I knitted a tube that fits my stomach.

At the level where my bossom starts I now have to decide whether to increase (how would that go in a chart?) or to insert a steek (cast on about 8 stitched which will be cut later on). Also there needs to given some consideration to arm holes I guess. I don’t know yet if they need decreases and a steek, I’ll be reading the pattern Great Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff for that:

pic by Mary Scott Huff  pic by Interweave Knits

I’m using various patterns. The stranded Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang for looks and the Great Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff for shaping and steeking. That last vest is free, from Knitty, and I understand what it says 🙂

Ooh, setting up for a steek is easier than I thought. Just park one stitch, cast on 8 new ones using both yarns and knit those eight in stripes. Decreasing for the front panels occurs on the side of this steek-flap.

I’ve started the set up right away. Pretty soon I’ll add two at the sides too, for the arm holes. Must not forget to add shaping.

After I have completed the toppart I’ll undo the provisional cast on and knit down wards. My tube is not that high yet and there’s room to add waist decreases right at the bottom.

So that’s the plan! Now I have two nice things to show the mushroom guy tomorrow so he knows his first workshop ever was very much appreciated.

Free style colourwork

Ahh, Spring is in the air! I have knitted my Petal Lace Cardigan towards the hem where a band of colour work will be:

Now it’s time to  decide on the colourwork and for this I’ve been playing with Stitchfiddle, the free website that lets you create knitting charts.

I’ve set out a canvas on Stitchfiddle as wide as the whole border of the cardigan and I’ve drawn vertical lines from the lace petals to the bottom. I want each line to have a petal in colourwork. Quick sketch:
Now it’s time to design the petals. Which shape? Which colour where? How to distribute the contrast? They should have little yellow accents because Lieneke has shown me they really liven up the colours:

And I need to be a bit careful with the teal because it’s also used for the button band. (Oh, the ball of teal is not in the picture). And what colour will the hem be?
Also: sleeves will have a colour band too. Use up all the remains!

So I’ve been playing around. Crudely drawing to get a feel for shapes and sizes and colour contrasts. And then I watched the new podcast by Tilly Trout (lovely podcaster, go watch here).

In it she shows a lovely bit of fair isle she’s working on. A swatch in Uradale yarn, inspired by the book Shetlandic Knitting by Marja de Haan, from Trollenwol yarnshop.
pic by Marja de Haan

Tilly Trout has added some light, mustard coloured accents.
Which are cross stitched. On knitted fabric. Because a cross stitch, in wool, gives a different “pop” than a duplicate stitch:
 still from Tilly Trout episode 33
Very interesting!

Storing this idea in my head for if I want solo yellow accents on my cardigan.

Later on Tilly talks about how embroidery nowadays is different from a few decades ago. Back then things had to be neat and tidy. Cross stitch. Count threads.

Nowadays it’s more free. Freehand. Freestyle. Go by eye, not by thread count. I feel there’s a cross pollination with the recent trend with handlettering:
 pic by Breimonster, who’s into embroidery, handlettering, sewing, knitting and the general crafty life. She’s also a Physics teacher by profession. And she’s the first Dutch person to finish the qualification sock for the Madness, she’s now in the fastest team with all the Finns and winners from previous Madnesses. She’s marvelous!!

Free style colour work? Interesting! (2)

Why should I try to make my colourwork all neat and in a 14 st repeat pattern? Stitchfiddle has already given me a chart for the whole band, should I desire so. I could knit the whole band, without a repeat, just like I sketched it!

You know, this may be just the thing I’ll do. Freehand colourwork, no rules, no symmetry! It’s what I’m staring at and thinking about on this lovely Springday, while I knit my new Dropped Madness socks very precisely to the rules.

Ah. I found my teal ball.

Spring is in the air, Spring is in the knitting:

23 dec: digging it.

Once upon a time I had a great afternoon:

And today my new x-mas cookie cutter arrived:
digger cookie cutter
Ahh, it’s the season to be joyous!

X-mas cookies and bombyx x-mas balls:
digger cookie cutter

Me in the digger was about ten years ago, when we had just bought the cabin. We were clearing the rich top soil of the meadow next to it. In the poorer under-soil native herbs have more of a chance to grow. The rich soil got shoveled into man-high ridges, on top of which we planted apple trees.

In between the ridges there are now sheltered micro climates and the amount of dragon flies is absurd. Lots of herbs too, with lots of different bees and bumble bees on them.

Diggers made it into my Advent shawl:

And I learned that in plain rows I should knit a little tighter because ruffles.

Today’s colour is a green blue:

It’s in a small band above the diggers.

The wrong white…

Ack.

The last ball of the vintage Norwegian yarn is a different white. It’s a different brand too. I knew this. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yet it does.

How to proceed with my stranded Owl vest now?
I can alternate balls I guess… I’d have to frog all the rows from the previous weeks. Nothing says progress in knitting like frogging. *sigh* The difference in clour will still show, the vest would definitely have a different coloured top.

I could try and buy a matching yarn. Nothing says stash busting and finishing WIPs as buying more yarn.*sigh*

Here’s a reminder of this fun vest I have on the needles:

vest pattern is Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen

owl pattern is Grey Eyed by Rebecca Tsai

Pfff. I’ll have a think about it.
In the mean time I’m eyeing Tangled Vines cardigan and also probably casting on a new vest, from that purplewhite handspun.
And crocheting flowers of course. Lots and lots of them. Quick, before I grow tired of it.

Miscellaneous

I finished the cat wristwarmers for my friend and gave them to her!

Her birthday was back in May but I just couldn’t make myself finish the embroidering of the eyes and whiskers because I was so certain they were too small. Once I resolved to give them anyway, (“perhaps she can use them as decoration”), I finished them:


She got them last Saturday and seemed to like them!

For mindless knitting I’ve started a new sock:

It’s a Zauberball yarn. You wind off the ball until you’ve got 2 x 50 grams and then you alternate and make stripes. Explained in Magic Zauberball Stripe Socks by Tofutrulla
This is Zauberball Crazy, a 2 ply, in colourway 2170. Probably my favourite colourway 🙂

The regular WIPs are progressing as usual. I’m working on Rockefeller and on the socks with the froggy beads. The other WIPs are in the closet, dreaming.

After the first mitten I did not knit any more of the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL by Kat Lewinski. There have been two mittens since, the third one is being released today:

They are lovely designs! And it’s a lovely Ravelry group to read so I’ll be following their progress and look at the new designs. The reason I did not progress is that mitten 2 and 3 do not have that graphic style that mitten 1 had me raving about.

That’s the well documented graphic style called “wood block printy bold shapes what’s meant to be the back ground colour anyway?”

Done in storytelling prints by artists Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel and Hilke MacIntyre:

Done with blocks of colour by Milton Avery and Tomoko Suzuki:

In monochrome prints by El Gato Gomez and Isabel Cosin:

Bold shapes owning the canvas, by Pierre Bonnard and Chun Eun Sil:

Playing with negative space, Daryl Hochi and Noma Bar:

Storytelling, bold shapes and use of negative space, that’s what I love about the first mitten design:

And now for my final miscellaneous trick, here’s a picture of me spinning last Saturday:

Anna-spinnend-bij-Wolop Photo by Meilindis

One pair of wristwarmers in focus

Went to the eye doctor again this week. Was nervous and in nervosity could make the decision to frog the wristwarmer that was too wide anyway. My friend won’t wear them. I wouldn’t either.
(did you know people make better decisions when they’re nervous? Or was it only when they have to pee… don’t remember.)

We were there early.
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I was fortified by colour:
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My husband accompanied me as my driver and entertained us both by giving his elaborate opinion on the fonts and kerning used in this new hospital. At 8 o’clock in the morning.

I nodded and shared his wonder about why the pole of nr 4 ended where it did and whether that 6 looked tailored or if that was just a trick of the eye. In the mean time I frogged the stranded part and work it up to here:
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Then more people entered the waiting area and we had to keep our voices down. Then I was called in and had to present myself in a coherent way. Not so rambly and full of little wonders that pop up in my head.
Funnily enough the doctor was a chatty chap and we ended up rambling anyway. I didn’t mention knitting though. Nor the specifics of the numbers on their doors.

My eyes were ok. They’re just old. Or weird. Or both.
But not too ill. It may very well be that my sudden double vision began because of years of badly treated Addison’s. He knew someone who got it from the flu. And another patient got it after he broke his legs.
“The patient is always right!” the doc shouted heartily. Then he shook my arm and wished me well until next year.

No drops and adequate vision. Good enough to knit up a storm since then you’d think. I thought so too.
Now it’s two days later and this is where the cuff’s at:
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This is all I knitted this week. I’ve been sewing?

I did find another new favourite chocolate!
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Johnny Doodle. Belgian chocolate. This one is with real fudge.

(I found this at a shop that I entered when I had just left the other shop with my order of ten -10- bars of my new favourite chocolate I blogged about earlier this week, Chocolat Stella 75%. I walked home with over a kilo of Belgian chocolate today! 🙂 )

Finished: stranded cuffs

I was so happy with the yarn that after I finished the socks on Friday I used the remnants to make some wristwarmers:

I’ve just finished them, casting off the brioche top as we were driving from the cabin back to the city on Monday morning.

Four days for a chique pair of wristwarmers!
Considering this weekend had lovely Spring weather and I spend hours puttering about in the garden that’s a good result.

I made them with the same pattern as my green/white Fair Isle Cuffs that I wear a lot: Fair Isle Cuffs by Julie Williams.


It’s different when you use variegated yarn instead of a different colour for each row like the green ones. I think I prefer the latter. But the former knits faster.

With the green cuffs I did a beautiful photoshoot when they were finished. In the snow, with magical morning sunlight:

I should do one with these too, now with this beautiful Spring weather and the first trees in full bloom. There are some closeby. 30 minutes ago:

cat cherry tree speing

Even in my back garden, Magnolia, Ribes and Rosemary, 30 seconds ago:

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But then I ought to block them first. And also get up from the sofa where I’m doing my photographing and writing at the moment:

That’s a cat on my blanket on my legs. I think we’ll all stay here for a while and enjoy the sunny spots:

UPDATE

3 minutes later. Complicating factors.
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now where do I keep my knitting? and my laptop?

Finished: Mosaic Mittens

Each mitten weighs 26 grams. Hands elongated with extra ochre diamonds. Pattern An enchanting mystery by Wenche Roald.

You’re right in thinking the left one looks a bit more snug above the thumb then the right one. It was knitted with a 2 mm needle instead of a 2,25 mm needle. Because I think I have 2,25 mm needles everywhere now and I don’t check.

There was a bit of yarn chicken going on too, late at night:

A dangerous sport…

I frogged a row and started decreasing earlier. After I had put it on my left hand and convinced myself the thumb of my left hand is shorter than the one one my right hand.

And knitting stretches, doesn’t it? Anyway, I won:

“That’ll block right out.”

I like the colours. They are pleasantly uncomfortable to me.

I wore them when I was at IKEA yesterday, one mitten was still wet from blocking, and on the drive back I noticed the landscape having the same colours. Spend straw and reed, grass, blue skie and dirty clouds, dark asphalt. Lovely.